Kyle Nelson is ready to prove just how well-rounded of a fighter he is.
Canada’s Nelson (13-3) will look to make it two wins in a row in the UFC when he takes on rising American Billy Quarantillo (14-2) in a featherweight bout at UFC on ESPN+ 35 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, NV.
With five wins by knockout and another four by submission, Nelson, 29, has proven to be well-versed in all aspects of MMA throughout his career.
And while he does have respect for Quarantillo’s ground game, Nelson said he believes he has the upper hand on Quarantillo wherever the fight goes.
“He’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, he’s good at scrambling, and good at surviving, but I don’t really see a whole lot of danger coming from him. He’s not really a killer,” said Nelson in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I don’t think there’s really anywhere he can beat me in this fight. Wrestling, jiu-jitsu, striking, I think I have him beat pretty much everywhere. I’m just going to go out, do whatever I want, and finish him in the first round.”
Prior to this bout being confirmed, Nelson was scheduled to face Sean Woodson on June 27, but Nelson was removed from the card on fight week due to visa issues beyond his control.
Nelson said he was disappointed that fight didn’t pan out because he saw a great opportunity to steal the hype surrounding Woodson.
But with a similar volume of hype surrounding Quarantillo, Nelson said he views this as a similar opportunity.
“I was pretty devastated. I thought it was a great matchup for me. Sean Woodson had a lot of hype behind him, so I knew I was going to walk in there, knock him out, get that bonus, and steal all his hype,” said Nelson.
“Now, I get to do that with Billy here. He’s coming off two wins in the UFC and it sounds like he has a lot of hype behind him, so I’m excited to go out there, put him away quick, and take over.”
Nelson proved he can hang with the best
Nelson is no stranger to taking on opponents with hype behind them as his UFC debut was a short notice call-up against now number eight-ranked lightweight Diego Ferreira (17-2).
While Nelson would go on to lose the fight, he had a great deal of success on the feet with Ferreira in the first round, which he said proves he can compete with the best in the division.
“Seeing how well Diego’s doing now, I feel like he’s a guy that I showed in that first round I can definitely beat with the right training camp and cardio. I was picking him apart standing up, and he couldn’t take me down until I hit that adrenaline dump and gassed out a bit,” said Nelson.
“I think if I can beat a high-level opponent, like Diego Ferreira, at a weight class higher, it kind of proves that at 145 pounds I’m going to be too much for a lot of these guys to handle.”
Nelson was able to secure his first UFC win back in Sept. 2019, a first round knockout victory over Polo Reyes.
He said earning that first UFC win was proof he belongs at the highest level, and was just the first step towards achieving his long-term goals.
“You can’t really call yourself a UFC fighter until you get that first UFC win,” said Nelson.
“As far as what I’ve always dreamed of, being a UFC fighter, it kind of solidified that and was the first stepping stone to me working my way up to being a UFC champion and, eventually, a UFC hall-of-famer.”
“I’d like to say thank you to my home gym House of Champions, my head coach Alin Halmagean, my wrestling coach Adrian Woolley, my jiu-jitsu coach Claude Patrick, my sponsors (Moose Delaney’s Sports Grill, The SportLab, SHEATH Underwear, Muskoka Renos, Coolr Nutrition, Urban Beard, Highlander Brew Co., Thirsty Fox Pub, Sire Bioscience), and my family and fans for sticking by me this year while I wasn’t able to compete.” Follow Nelson on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM